A quarter century of celebrating the winter solstice in Aspen
If You Go …
What: Jan Garrett & JD Martin, 25th Annual Winter Solstice Concert
Where: Aspen Community Church
When: Monday, Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m.
How much: $20/adults; $10 kids
In December 1991, local musicians Jan Garrett and J.D. Martin staged a concert celebrating the winter solstice at the Aspen Community Church. The idea was to sing holiday music, light candles and bring locals and visitors together on the darkest, longest night of the year. The idea certainly was not to start a beloved local tradition that, 25 years later, would still be a staple of the winter season in Aspen.
But here Garrett and Martin are, preparing for the 25th annual Winter Solstice Concert tonight.
“It’s become an opportunity to get together with all these wonderful people and sing together and bring light into the darkness,” Garrett said.
As usual, she expects locals to come who’ve been there every year alongside visitors in Aspen for the first time, and she hopes for a diverse crowd.
“The solstice is the equal-opportunity holiday,” Garrett said. “Whatever tradition you come from, it’s the turning point for everyone. When it’s so dark and so cold, it’s a nice thing to celebrate that turning point. I also always feel it’s good to embrace the darkness.”
On their holiday album, last year’s “All These Gifts,” Garrett and Martin blended the sounds of Celtic and world music, gospel and country in original and traditional songs celebrating the solstice and Christmas.
The duo have been playing live music in Aspen since the late 1960s — Garrett early on in outfits like The Hustlers and Liberty, Martin in the Hallam Street Band. Martin spent time as a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, in the early ’80s, penning songs for the likes of Reba McEntire and Peter Cetera.
As musical partners — and husband and wife — they’ve spent more time on the road in recent years. The solstice concert has often been their only local performance of the year as their touring demands grew.
As tradition dictates, the duo will start with some of Garrett and Martin’s original songs, followed by a group candle-lighting, before opening it up for carol singing. They’ll be joined on tage by local singers Roberta Lewis and Annie Garrett, with poetry by Kim Nuzzo.
“We want to contribute to the heart and soul of this beautiful place,” Garrett said. “That’s why we continue to do it.”
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